Monday, June 13

part of it

I remember I was struck by the harmony of color in the forest, shades of yellow and green deepening to the browns and purples. And the way the vines curled up through the trees, clinging to twigs and branches, twined around each other. I noticed where they embraced an old dead limb and dressed it again with life and color. The midday chorus of the cicadas was loud and strident, breaking out into the forest air in waves as different groups of the insects started up, then dropped out, like shrill choristers singing endless round songs without words.

One of the tasks that I had found most difficult... was the suppression of circling thought, the first step on the road to experiencing true awareness. There was a time when I had practiced often; then, in the press of life, I had lost the art. But on this day I felt the old mystery steal over me -- the cessation of noise from within. It was like getting back into a beautiful dream.

I lay there, part of the forest, and experienced again that magical enhancement of sound, that added richness of perception. I was keenly aware of secret movements in the trees. A small striped squirrel climbed, spiral fashion in the way of squirrels, poking into crevices in the bark, bright eyes and rounded ears alert. A great velvet black bumblebee visited tiny purple flowers, the end section of his abdomen glowing rich orange red each time he flew through one of the patches of sunlight that dappled the forest. It is all but impossible to describe the new awareness that comes when words are abandoned. One is transported back, perhaps, to the world of early childhood when everything is fresh and so much of it is wonderful...

Together the chimpanzees and the baboons and monkeys, the birds and insects, the teeming life of the vibrant forest, the stirrings of the never still waters of the great lake, and the uncountable stars and planets of the solar system formed one whole. All one, all part of the great mystery. And I was part of it too.

-- Jane Goodall Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey